Game Designer Points Out Flaws in Utah Conservative’s Testimony on Game Bill

Earlier this week GamePolitics posted exclusive transcripts of testimony at Monday’s hearing before a Utah House committee which was considering Jack Thompson’s video game bill.

Among those appearing before the committe was Thompson ally Gayle Ruzicka, the politically formidable head of the ultra-conservative Utah Eagle Forum.

As we reported, Ruzicka, in an urgent tone, beseeched the committee to approve the Thompson bill: 

These [games] are the kind of things that are training our children. This is the vile stuff. The Grand Theft Auto games are cop-killing murder simulators. And when [Devin Moore] was faced with being arrested he knew exactly what to do. He knew how to aim… at the head and each time killed these [officers]. We don’t want this for our children. Not at all. Please, please vote yes today on this bill.

 

Anything we can do to protect our children from the violence, from the filthy pornography that the only way they can get into the pornography is being good at the game. They work hard and get to certain levels and when they get to the high enough levels then they get into the pornography – filthy, vile stuff that you would be appalled and never want your children to see. And then as a reward, they get to kill the women…

Ruzicka’s protestations caught the attention of game design blog Third Helix where the author tackled her claims, point by point:

…our industry never steps up to defend ourselves in light of their lies. [Ruzicka is] referring to the Grand Theft Auto games, of course, and her inaccuracies are numerous:

    * There is no pornography in GTA, unless your definition of pornography is “any sexual content or reference of any kind”. The closest thing you’ll get is the Hot Coffee mod for GTA:SA, and the (brief) male nudity in The Lost & The Damned. The comically-low resolution of the former, and the non-sexual nature of the latter, clearly distance them from any generally-accepted concept of pornography.

 

    * GTA does not have “levels”, as it is primarily a sandbox game. The closest analogue is “missions”, which do not always have a strictly linear progression, and the games’ content does not become any more explicit as players progress.

 

    * Explicit content is not used as a reward for gameplay. It is simply the overall tone of the games, and many well-regarded movies do exactly the same thing.

 

    * Killing the prostitutes is not a reward for anything at all, nor is it encouraged. It does provide a marginal “reward” in that you gain a small amount of cash — should you choose to pick it up — but this amounts to virtually nothing in the overall game economy and is not generally worth doing.

I understand that people like Ms. Ruzicka are concerned about their children (and other people’s children, too, apparently). But it would be nice if the things such people are afraid of were actually real, and not inventions of rumor and fevered imagination…

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68 comments

  1. hellfire7885 says:

    Odds are her tone would convey her also saying "I know you’re a gamer, so get back on the short bus so those of us with room temperature IQ can talk, child"


  2. JustChris says:

    The content in rap music has gotten a hundred times more lewd than in 2 Live Crew’s time as well. Nice Pyrrhic victory Thompson.

    I guess he stopped attacking the rap music industry because video gamers are an easier target with their less dignified representation. Rap artists are "street cool" and are more willing to mouth off at critics.

    GameSnooper

  3. ezbiker555 says:

    This is starting to piss me off. I feel like everytime, we try to say what is true NOBODY LISTENS!

    What the fuck does it take for our voices to be heard and overpower the people who can’t thier facts straight?

  4. Bennett Beeny says:

    Trust me, if you’re 25 and still asking your mum whether you can have a game, you need to do one (or more) of three things:

    1. get a job so you can buy your own games.

    2. move into your own place.

    3. stop asking mum for permission.

    All the above are also prerequisites for getting a life.

    Personally, I think it’s also terrible that the parent thinks it’s okay to impose rules on an adult.  But I guess if perhaps the adult is still acting like a kid, a certain amount of flexibility is needed.

  5. TBoneTony says:

    Thumps up for pointing out those mistakes point by point.

    I wish I was in that room with those talks going though the committie.

    I would have stood up and asked the lady from the Eagle Forum if she had ever played Grand Theft Auto.

    She would have said, "No, but I don’t need to play this trash. I know it is porn."

    Also the fact that the Eagle Forum are trying to Sell this bill to the government when in fact they are always lying about the worst examples of the Videogame Industry.

    I wonder how long it would be until the people at the Eagle forum start talking about the Hentai games?

    If they are desperate, they will literally attack anything.

     

  6. Kincyr says:

    true, but Gamadaya was the one who derailed it. the rest of us were sent as replacement trains before the mess was cleared up ala. Futurama episode "The Day the Earth Stood Stupid"

    岩「…Where do masochists go when they die?」

  7. BearDogg-X says:

    Yeah, both gargoyles without a shred of feminine qualities whatsoever.

    Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Hornets, Jack Thompson can geaux chase a chupacabra.


    Proud supporter of the New Orleans Saints, LSU, 1st Amendment; Real American; Hound of Justice; Even through the darkest days, this fire burns always

    Saints(3-4), LSU(7-0)

  8. Meohfumado says:

    Very true, for all of JT’s railing against 2 LIVE Crew, his efforts gave them their highest selling album of their careers.

    "You know what I wish? I wish all the scum of the Earth had one throat and I had my hands about it."

  9. Shadow D. Darkman says:

    "Hell even some host from G4 would make a better rep than him."

    Adam Sessler FTW.

    ——————————————————————————

  10. Shadow D. Darkman says:

    EZK, I resent (honestly) that second one about being 25 and still having to ask folks for games. Some of us are still that dependent, y’know. While some will outgrow it, others won’t.

    ——————————————————————————

  11. ecco6t9 says:

    Again this is why the ESA is useless now, Gallagher is a spineless wimp who needs to be ousted for power and a gamer put in his place. Hell even some host from G4 would make a better rep than him.

  12. GRIZZAM PRIME says:

    Where I come from boys hit puberty when six and work in coal mine for minimum 4 years. We have no time for children. If not man by 7 years at maximum, they are fed to Great Mahikail Bear, so as to satisfy it’s great and terrible hunger and save village for another 4 hours. 😀

    But yes, if you tell a kid they can’t have something, they want it more. On that point, he is completely right. The more the whiners whine, the more interest they gather for the game/CD/movie.

  13. Shadow D. Darkman says:

    Then again, what I said WAS relevant to what Gamadaya said, so if it was indeed derailed, it would obviously be your fault.

    *head explodes from super logic*

    I’m OK!

    ——————————————————————————

  14. jsmuli2 says:

    I think the gaming industry doesn’t react to these accusations because…it’s good publicity.

     

    Think about it.  You’re a 15 year old kid, just about to hit puberty, and ur told some parents are upset about a game that has strippers and gang violence in it.  The first thing on that kid’s mind is "I gotta get that game somehow!"

     

    Also, I remember when the blood cheat in Mortal Kombat got big and parents got all pissed. I wanted that game so badly.  We all had to go to 1 kid’s house because his parents didn’t care about it.  I begged my mom for the game but she wouldn’t let me get it.  It wasn’t until last year that she let me get the game for the wii….I’m 25.

  15. Kincyr says:

    This thread has derailed. Thankfully, nobody was hurt or banned.

    岩「…Where do masochists go when they die?」

  16. Shadow D. Darkman says:

    Die, monster! You don’t belong in this world!

    ——————————————————————————

  17. gamadaya says:

    Boy, you’d better close that last parenthesis if you know what’s good for you!

    ———————————

    Internet troll > internet paladin

  18. PHX Corp says:

    Yea it’s awkward How He got his Hands on a gun(I’m a gun rights supporter, too(Even though I Do not own a gun(Even more Awkward))

    Watching JT on GP is just like watching an episode of Jerry springer only as funny as the fights

  19. GRIZZAM PRIME says:

    Something I find amusing: This lady is a conservative, which suggests she is a second amendment supporter. She rants about games affecting Moore’s psyche, but doesn’t seem to be concerned over how he obtained the firearm…

    (not trying to start a gun control arguement, just noticing something funny)

  20. Zero Beat says:

    But then the other inmates would sue for cruel and unusual punishment.

     

    "That’s not ironic. That’s justice."

  21. Shadow D. Darkman says:

    Y’know, I’m surprised Jack was never charged with perjury, especially after being disbarred.

    ——————————————————————————

  22. metroidprimegmr says:

    Excellently well put, Josh. 10/10

    Do you plan on sending anything to any politicians regarding Ruzika’s lies?

    Jack Thompson: future Good Burger employee of the month

  23. JustChris says:

    The funny thing about Fox News attacking Mass Effect is, if you dig deeper into the website’s Tech section, you would find an article by a journalist that gave it an amazing positive review.

    GameSnooper

  24. Bennett Beeny says:

    "The war for freedom is nearly over. These little skermishes are nothing to freak out about.

    "What’s the point? This world is beyond redemption; let the [heathen] cattle have it!" – Vorador, Soul Reaver 2"

    Your signature, as well as being ironic, doesn’t fill me with much hope.

  25. Michael Chandra says:

    You lost me there. Guy comments about how laying low has really bad consequences, yet that is why you are for laying low?

  26. BearDogg-X says:

    I looked up the minutes of the hearing on the Utah State Legislature’s website and there were three people there arguing against the bill and all three were movie industry reps(2 from the theater owners and 1 from the MPAA). Where is the game industry’s reps to oppose this pile of crap?

    Curiously, one of the legislators that voted against sending the bill to the full House had filed a motion to adjourn the meeting before the vote could be called.

    Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Hornets, Jack Thompson can geaux chase a chupacabra.


    Proud supporter of the New Orleans Saints, LSU, 1st Amendment; Real American; Hound of Justice; Even through the darkest days, this fire burns always

    Saints(3-4), LSU(7-0)

  27. GTCv Deimos says:

    Which is why… as much as it sucks, I’m all for "laying low." Cuz as you know… Crazy ignorant people will always steal the lime-light, because the even-headed people don’t have anything to really scream about.

    Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate what you were trying to do (plus I wasn’t accusing you of being the comic-book guy)… but the bottom line is that the future will simply prove how completely out of touch these people are.

  28. invicticide says:

    Point-by-point refutations probably will not change the minds of those on the other side of this issue, so you do have a point there. But at the same time, I do think such refutations are necessary — at least in the short-term — for the protection of our industry’s integrity in the public square.

    The Mass Effect "rape simulator" situation is a good example. Refuting the claim of rape content would probably not have changed the minds of the people who advanced those claims, either in terms of their opinion that such content exists, or their negative opinion toward games in general. But public refutation would have had an effect on all the viewers and readers of those news outlets that carried the story.

    As it stands, due to the inadequacy of public refutation in that case, my parents (for example) to this day think Mass Effect is a game about rape, despite my attempts to correct the record.

    Similarly, the zombie lie of "GTA gives you points for screwing and killing prostitutes" has, sadly, defined an era. And it was only allowed to do so because it has not been adequately publically refuted. The voices of our misinformed critics have proven far louder and wider-reaching than our own.

    -Josh

    third-helix.com | Game design, music, and politics

  29. E. Zachary Knight says:

    And that is one of the reasons the ECA exists. To get gamer representation to those areas. AS people we watch those channels and shows as well as read those newspapers and magazines. It is our responsibility to call them out when they get the facts wrong.

    But the industry has a responsibility to do it as well. That should be one of the Missions of the ESA but it seems they would rather hold only a reactionary effort on legislation.

    Look at this. We have a bill being actively discussed and almost ready to go for a vote. But the ESA has yet to speak up about it. AS far as I know the EMA has said very little if anything. Why? It will directly effect members of both of those organizations. Shouldn’t those members have the benefit of being a member of an organization that actively defends them before things like this get signed into law. Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to the industry and tax payers to actually prevent this from being signed into law rather than getting it repealed?

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
    http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma


    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  30. GTCv Deimos says:

    Specifically referencing his finite disection. I dunno, I never found that to be a particularly effective method of arguement.

  31. invicticide says:

    I’m interested to know what about my post came off as "comic book guy". Not that I’m trying to be argumentative or anything, but I think it’s important for all of us to develop effective ways of communicating our defense of our medium, and I gather that "comic book guy" isn’t one of the more effective ways of doing that. 😛

  32. invicticide says:

    What we’ve lacked on defense lately — and always — is a strong pro-game presence in the very forums where the anti-game presence lies. Our critics aren’t selling their message on gaming blogs and forums, they’re selling it on the local evening news and in political meetings like the one that approved this bill.

    We defend our industry vigorously, but we’ve only been defending it to each other. My parents, for example, don’t read GamePolitics, but they do watch FOX News. Guess which viewpoint they’re getting, exclusively?

  33. GTCv Deimos says:

    But every time someone fires back, they end up sounding like the comic book guy, as this blogger so deftly proved :p.

    I kind of agree with Vake… videogames are rapidly becoming a part of our culture, eventually all these windbags are gonna be preaching to an empty flock.

  34. E. Zachary Knight says:

    Yes individual designers and developers stand up for games, but the industry as a whole has a very low response rate to this kind of stuff.

    I can uderstand ignoring blogs and op-ed peices, but when there is a congretional testimony, someone from the industry should be there to make sure the facts are set straight.

    AS I understand it, the only person there arguing against this bill was a theatre rep. Where was the games industry rep? Who the crap knows.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
    http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma


    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  35. Vake Xeacons says:

     Objection! WE DO DEFEND OURSELVES! Over and over again, but we can only take so much. Why have we lacked on defense lately? 

    1. Nothing we say seem to be heard by those against games. They continue to treat GTA as the spokes-game for the industry, regardless of its small portion.

    2. Games are so quickly reaching mainstream, so eventually and soon, the arguments will be ignored, then completely dropped, just like movies and all other "controversial" mediums before it.

    The war for freedom is nearly over. These little skermishes are nothing to freak out about.

     

     

    "What’s the point? This world is beyond redemption; let the [heathen] cattle have it!" – Vorador, Soul Reaver 2

  36. hellfire7885 says:

    As I remember it EA did thank the fans for defendign the game, soemting EA themselves should have been doing since the alegations were first made.


  37. farlander28 says:

    Actually, it’s worse than that – she’s a billionaire.

     

    "Life sucks, get a fuckin helmet" – Denis Leary

  38. jsmuli2 says:

    Totally true, look at that J.K. Rowling trial against the Lexicon guy.  Instead of listing the legal reasons why she is right, she gave a sob story about her creative work being used to hurt her emotions….blah blah blah…..She won the lawsuit…..a multi-millionaire won a lawsuit against a big nerdy fan.

  39. Benji says:

    Not to mention – they make a lot out of how he was enough of a marksman to hit his targets in the head.  One of his victims was the guy he disarmed.  Which means he was within arm’s range of him.  Hitting a melon-sized target at three feet doesn’t exactly require expert marksman training.  And I thought the other victims were in the same room – hitting the melon from fifteen feet isn’t that amazing a trick either, anyone with decent coordination and good luck might pull that off.

  40. Glasofruix says:

    "And when [Devin Moore] was faced with being arrested he knew exactly what to do. He knew how to aim… at the head and each time killed these [officers]"

     

    The basic anatomy knowledge admits that a shot in the head is way more effective than a shot in the "insert body part here".

    Anyway, if he knew HOW TO aim he was already familiar with guns, ’cause there’s no white pointer in real life and holding a gamepad isn’t the same feeling than holding a gun, thing that those idiots would have known if they’ve actually played a game…

  41. insanejedi says:

    He knew how to aim, because there is auto lock on in real life and a big white circle highlights my enemy with a dot on them telling me where the bullets will fly.

    More paranoid uninformed conservative fanatical morons that are doing stuff for "teh children" for a game that is M-RATED. 

  42. Zerodash says:

    "I understand that people like Ms. Ruzicka are concerned about their children "

    WRONG WRONG WRONG!

    These people don’t give a crap about "the children", and they are too often well-aware that they are telling lies.  At worst, these scum are trying to turn this country into a theocracy by pushing Christian values as law.  At best, these scum are attacking games as low-hanging political fruit to further their careers.

  43. PHX Corp says:

    It’s Time to Initate a federal investigation of Thompson and the Utah eagle forum into the possibility that they commited Perjury

    Watching JT on GP is just like watching an episode of Jerry springer only as funny as the fights

  44. Meohfumado says:

    Fact of the matter is Ms. Ruziack lied under oath.  She should be charged with perjury and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

     

    "You know what I wish? I wish all the scum of the Earth had one throat and I had my hands about it."

  45. Icehawk says:

    Sadly little thinks like reality mean nothing to one like Ms. Ruziack and related ilk.  Any fact (truth)  that is contrary to what they beleive, or more to the point want others to believe are lies spread by the gaming industry.   I applaud the effort though. 

    As for EA defending Mass Effect, truth or not they were the Ones that stuck that seriously crappy 3 install limit on what would otherwise have been an outstanding title so really should not be beating their collective chest in pride.   

     

  46. JDKJ says:

    It’s perplexing that illegal drugs aren’t ever the focus of Gayle Ruziack’s energies. Given her up-close and personal experiences with the dangers of heroin addiction, you’d think she’d be off and runnng on a campaign to remedy Utah’s drug problems instead of futzing around with videogames — a subject about which she obviously knows very little.

  47. DraginHikari says:

    Because the state governments are made up of human beings.

    People are often more swayed by emotionally induced claims and fear-monging then they are by truth and fact.   It’s mostly just the way the majority of people are.

  48. ChrowX says:

    The whole thing just stinks of the last generation being afraid of the current generation. I can imagine their mindset on the whole situation..

    "Billy used to be such a nice kid, then some shady figure in a back alley videogame store made him buy this Great Theiving Automobiles contraption! Now he’s become such a bad kid that he doesn’t even go to 3am Mass at church or fill out the extra credit questions on tests at school! These videogames are rotting our childrens’ minds with their bright colorful graphics and big shiny buttons!!"

    Seriously, though.. How can the state leave decisions like this up to people whohave no idea what the hell they’re talking about?

  49. Verbinator says:

    Perhaps we need to stop teaching children biology in school as well, or at least don’t let them see medical programs that let them know where vital organs are located in the human body and what happens if they are damaged by trauma.

     

    –Verbinator

  50. E. Zachary Knight says:

    Because they are chicken. Seriously. When the ESA was asked what they were going to do during the Mass Effect fiasco, they just said to ask EA. EA itself did nothing. It was up to Bioware and the ECA to actually stand up for games.

    The ESA is staffed with a bunch of spineless wimps who are more afraid of bad PR than the negative image that games get.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
    http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma


    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  51. gameman9 says:

    We as an industry need to be much more proactive about correcting the record on these kinds of things. Allowing our critics — even those with the best of intentions — to paint an inaccurate picture of our industry is, in effect, allowing them to control our identity.

    I completely agree with this. But why doesn’t the industry do this?

  52. hellfire7885 says:

    I agree with this as well.

     

    And I will say again that people like THompson and Ruzicka has far sicker minds than any of the people they attack.


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